Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that a Puna man, 26 year-old Douglas Wayne Soares, Jr., was sentenced to serve a ten (10) year prison term in relation to a February 28, 2021 domestic abuse and dating violence incident involving Soares’ teenage girlfriend. Prosecutors argued for the imposition of the maximum penalties for each of the charges. Soares was sentenced to a ten (10) year prison term for Assault in the First Degree and five (5) year prison terms for each of his Felony Abuse charges.
On March 14, 2022, Soares pleaded “Guilty” to four offenses, Assault in the First Degree (knowingly cause serious bodily injury to another person) and three counts of Felony Abuse of Family or Household Member (knowingly physically abuse another person by impeding her normal breathing). Assault in the First Degree is a class B felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of ten (10) years in prison. Felony Abuse is a class C felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of five (5) years in prison.
The investigation was initiated by South Hilo Patrol and the felony investigation was handled by Officer Corey Kaneko, Area I Juvenile Aid Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lucas Burns.
“There is no sentence that can erase what happened; however, I hope it brings forth some sort of healing for the victim and her family,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen. “Yesterday’s sentencing communicates our Office’s commitment to seek justice for child victims of domestic and dating violence and to hold these dangerous offenders accountable for their actions. I am extremely grateful and proud of the hardworking police, victim advocates, and prosecutors who fight against domestic and dating violence in our community.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please go to a safe place and call a trusted friend or relative for support. If you choose, you can call 911 to report the abuse to the police. The Child and Family Service 24-Hour Abuse Hotline has advocates available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support and advocacy. They can be reached at (808) 322-7233 in West Hawai‘i and (808) 959-8864 in East Hawai‘i.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.